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The UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimated that the number of people with long Covid increased from 1.3 million in January 2022 to two million as of May.

As Covid rates are climbing once more in the UK, the possibility of developing long Covid is also increased. The NHS cautions symptoms can range from shortness of breath, chest tightness, insomnia, to joint pain. For some people, they might experience fatigue, brain fog – defined as problems with memory and concentration – or heart palpitations. “If the symptoms are having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service,” the NHS notes.

The significance of this, is the definition of ‘disability’ in s6 of the Equality Act 2010, which defines disability (and therefore brings the protection of the Equality Act 2010) as a condition which causes a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Substantial means more than minor or trivial for legal purposes.

There has now been a case on this in the Scottish legal jurisdiction which confirms that Long Covid is a disability. The case is Burke v Turning Point.

The case succeeded on the evidence. The Tribunal was able to find for the Claimant because there were entries in his GP records which noted the symptoms which affected his day to day life, and because there were supporting witness statements from family confirming that he was unable to do the day to day chores he had done before.

What does that mean to you?

If you believe that you have the symptoms of Long Covid then you should contact your GP and ensure that those symptoms are noted on your record. If those symptoms persist and it affects your work then in 12 months time you will become protected by the Equality Act, meaning that you will become entitled to reasonable adjustments to help you to work with better support.

In a Consumer setting, you should obtain proof of the diagnosis from your GP so that you can show it to a service provider if you need access to ‘disabled spaces’ at venues. The issue will be, as ever, that unless you look disabled the assumption of most service providers is that you are not entitled to reasonable adjustments. You may need help with steps. You may need to be close to an accessible toilet. You may need a free carers ticket. You may also need car parking spaces or seating which reduces the amount of walking you have to do.

If you need help with a complaint, please let me know. I can supply complaint letter templates.

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